Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Paneer Butter Masala ( Restaurant Style)




Paneer Butter Masala, a very popular dish for "Naan Bread" and other rice dishes all over the globe. It is pretty rich and comforting to eat on a cold day. I have adapted the recipe from Chef Harpal Singh . I recently made this for a potluck party and was enjoyed avidly by all. It is not hard to make at all. The amount that I have blogged will serve about 15 people, but you can always halve the recipe.

The butter and the cashews in the dish gives the extra creamy silky texture for the dish. I used the canned tomato sauce as i was making for a larger crowd.

Get Ready: ( serves 15)


  • 1 package of paneer ( 16 oz, available at most Indian stores in the US)
  • 2.5 large roma tomatoes cut into medium sized chunks ( they can be big chunks as it will be blended)
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 1 large red chilli
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic ( optional)
  • 1 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup cashews soaked in warm water
  • 1/4 cup half and half or cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp Kasoori methi, dry roasted
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp honey ( optional)
  •  salt to taste


Go:


  • Keep the Paneer at room temperature and cut them into desired shapes. I cut them as medium thin long rectangles. Add boiling water to the paneer and let them soak for few mins. This makes them very soft as we don't get fresh ones here. if you make paneer at home skip this step.


  • Soak the cashews in warm water for 30 mins
  • In a pan, add a little oil and saute the onions, red chilli,  chopped tomatoes, ginger and garlic till the onions are translucent and the raw smell of garlic goes away.




  • Once cooled, add the soaked cashews to the sauted onion and tomato mix and blend into a smooth paste. Set aside.
  • In a pan add the butter and little oil ( learnt that this helps to prevent the butter from burning).  let the butter melt. Add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle.


  • Now add the blended cashew onion mixture and the canned tomato sauce.

  • Cover your pan, as it starts boiling, otherwise you have to clean all the red tomato splashes.
  • Add the red chilli powder, salt to taste, cover and cook stirring in between till the oil starts to separate at the sides.



  • Check for salt and other spices. cover and let it cook on low flame for a few mins
  • Crush the kasoori methi between your palms and add it to the gravy. Add the honey.
  • Drain the water from the paneer and add the paneer to the gravy.


  • Toss them all gently, adjust salt as needed and cover the pan.
  • Cook for a few mins on very low heat.
  •  Add half and half or cream to the desired consistency of your gravy.

Transfer to a bowl and enjoy with naan, chapathi or pulav.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Cranberry Thokku / Spicy Cranberry Relish






Cranberries are in plenty now. I had posted a recipe for Cranberry Orange BreadCranberry Salsa and White Chocolate Cranberry Fudge

Recently, I saw a recipe for cranberry thokku and was interested in making that. It is super easy to make and tastes great with rotis, idly, dosa and rice. The original recipe also called for tamarind. Cranberries are so tart themselves, I avoided the tamarind, but used brown sugar instead to balance the tartness and heat from the red chilli powder.


Get Ready:


  • 1 Pack Fresh cranberries
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp vendhayam/ fenugreek or methi seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds/ kadugu
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 1 red chilli broken in half
  • a few curry leaves
  •  1/2 tsp Hing/ asafotida
  • 3-4 tsp red chilli powder or to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp brown sugar or jaggery to taste



Go:


  • Wash and drain the cranberries.

  • In a pan, dry roast the fenugreek/ methi or vendhayam. Once cool, powder them. I used my mortar and pestle to powder them. set aside.
  • In a large pan, add the oil and do the tadka with mustard seeds, urad dal, red chilli curry leaves and hing. Turn the heat to medium


  • Add the cranberries, salt toss them and cover. The berries pop and will become mushy very soon.
  • Add the red chilli powder, brown sugar and cook till everything is mushy. Adjust spice level as per your taste.


  • Add the vendhayam/ fenugreek powder and cook till the thokku comes round like a ball without sticking to the sides of the pan.
  • Turn the heat off and store in a clean air tight container. It stays good for a week if refrigerated.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Orange Jello Salad




Don't be fooled by the name as I did. This is the time of the year when you have many get together with friends and families.  Orange jello salad is a very easy dessert to put together and everyone will enjoy it. I have no idea how this name of " salad" came for this dessert.
I made this for our thanksgiving party dinner and everyone liked it. This dessert can be made the day before you have a party.


Get Ready: ( serves about 10- 15 people)


  • 1 large pack Orange Jello ( I used the one from whole foods)
  • 1 small can mandarin oranges
  • 1 small can crushed pine apple, juice drained
  • 1 (8oz) pack of cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 1 small container cool whip at room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar (optional)



Go


  • Make the jello as per packet instructions. Let it set till halfway.

  • With a spatula or an electric whisk cream the cream cheese and sugar till fluffy.
  • Fold in the cool whip gently.
  • Add the jello, mandarin oranges and pineapple to the cream cheese mixture.

  • Cover and refrigerate over night.
  • Serve whenever you are a ready.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Paneer and Bell Pepper Curry




Bell peppers are every where in the supermarkets and here is a best way to make use of them. I have made this curry with no onion and garlic and using ingredients that was in my pantry that day. This curry has a rich gravy, not with cream or butter though! cashews/ almonds give a nice texture to this yummy curry. If you are using frozen paneer cubes, just soak them in hot water for few mins before adding it to the gravy. it makes them soft.

 Give it a try and I am sure you and your family will like it. Did I tell you, it is super easy to make.

Get Ready


  • Paneer cubes 1/2 cup
  • Bell pepper 3 colors ( I used red, orange and green)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • A pinch of asafetida/ hing
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander pwder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp kasoori methi
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • cilantro for garnish
  • water as needed


To Grind


  • 3 Roma tomatoes,chopped
  • 1 red chilli ( i did not have green chili)
  • 1tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/3 cup cashews or sliced almonds soaked in water for few mins ( i had only almonds)
  • 1/4 tsp khus khus/ poppy seeds (optional)



Go:


  • Grind the ingredients under to grind and set aside
  • In a pan, add oil. when hot add the cumin/ jeera and let it sizzle.


  • Add the kassori methi, crushing the dry leaves in between your finger to the oil and saute for a few secs.



  • Add the ground masala and saute till the raw smell goes, for a few secs.
  • Add the  turmeric powder, asafetida, red chilli powder, salt, and saute for few secs. 
  • Add the chopped bell pepper. Toss them all well.

  • Reduce flame, cover, sprinkle some water and let it cook for about 5-7 mins. If it is too dry, add very little water. Add the cumin and coriander powder.

  • When the bell pepper is partially cooked, add the paneer, Adjust salt, or heat as per taste. If you need more heat add chilli powder or garam masala optionally at that time.


  • Add a little water as needed for the consistency of your gravy.
  • Cover, simmer and cook for another 5-7 mins till the masala incorporates in the paneer.
  • Turn the heat off. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy with chapathi/ poori/ pead pulao or any mixed vegetable rice.


Variations:

I have not used any onion or garlic in this recipe. If you wish, you can add them and am sure it would taste wonderful.
Left overs tastes good with bread toast

Monday, October 5, 2015

Tinda Subzi




Tinda is a vegetable similar to small baby squash which is round. It is very famous in punjabi household where they make a stuffed " Bharwan tinda". I have tasted this growing up in my aun'ts house where they make a kootu. I have recently seen them in our local Indian store and wanted to try them.

My kids love sauted onion with vegetables instead of coconut. So, I tried this as a dry subzi and it was good. Myself and DH liked it. My son said it was " meh" as it had some seeds, and my daughter did not even know what she was eating as she was busy watching " shrek" on netflix!


I served this as a side dish to rice and sambar! Poor Tinda, that's what happens when to come to a South Indian's kitchen

Get ready


  •  6 Tinda washed, peeled, and cubed  ( remove as much seeds as possible)
  • 1 small onion sliced
  •  1 roma tomato chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds for tadka
  •  a few sprigs of curry leave
  •  cilantro to garnish


To roast and grind


  • 2 tsp coriander seeds/ dhaniya
  • 1 tbsp channa dal
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida/ hing


Go:


  • In a pan add little oil and roast all the ingredients under roast till golden. once cool, add the asafetida and grind them to a coarse powder. set aside.





  • In a pad, add oil. when hot, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle.

  • Add the onions and fry till translucent.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for a few mins.


  • Add the chopped tinda, turmeric, 1 tsp of salt and toss them all together.
  • Reduce heat, cover and cook stirring in between till the tinda is soft. If needed, sprinkle littel water while cooking.
  • Once the tinda is soft, add the ground masala powder. adjust salt as per your taste at this point.


  •  Uncover and cook on medium heat till all the spices are well incorporated in the tinda. takes about 10 mins
Serve with roti, rice and enjoy!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Paneer Burji Quesadilla / Paneer Crumble Quesadilla




I recently had a friend over for lunch who just wanted to just hang out with me catching up on gossip and things. When I asked her what I can cook for her, she said  as usual, " don't worry, we can order some sandwiches!". I had some paneer that I bought from Indian store recently and I thought making a grilled paneer sandwich. But, Once my friend was here, we were busy chatting and completely forgot about the grilling part.

I ended up making a paneer burji and put it inside a flour tortilla and made it as a quesadilla. I served with some curried carrot and butter nut squash soup. My friend said the food was " out of the world". I made the same for my kids after school snack and they loved it. My daughter who does not eat cheese, ate a whole quesadilla with out any squeak!


It is so easy to put together and you can try this and see.


Get Ready


  • Store brought paneer 3/4 pack, crumbled with hands. ( use a food processor if you have one)
  • 1/2 white onion very finely chopped
  • Lots of cilantro, i did not measure it
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • finely chopped green chillies ( optional)
  • Grated ginger ( optional)
  • Mission Flour tortillas medium sized
  • olive oil to to cook the quesadillas

Go:

  • In a bowl add the crumbled paneer, chopped onions, cilantro, all masalas and salt. combine them all well and set aside.


  • Take a tortilla, spoon the mixture on one side of the tortilla. fold the tortilla over.

  • You can cook them immediately or assemble them, cover with a damp cloth and refrigerate.
  • In a  hot skillet, add a little oil and place the folded tortilla. Cook till golden and flip the other side.
  • Cook till golden on both sides.


  • Cut into any shape you want and serve with ketchup, sour cream or even a mint chutney
Variation

I used the same filling inside  bread and made them as bread rolls for he kids. Cut the edges of the bread out. With the rolling pin, roll the bread nice and flat. Spoon the paneer burji filling inside. Roll the bread tight and apply a little water to the edge and press down. Apply some butter on the bread and cook a tawa, seam side down first till golden and crispy.


Add caption



A perfect school lunch, after school snack or quick week night dinner. if you don't have tortillas, one can also use left over chapathi's.

Try this out and tell me if you and your family likes it.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cauliflower Paratha / Gobi paratha








I recently found this pack of "Riced Cauliflower" at Trader Joe's and immediately thought, " woe, that would be perfect to use in a paratha! And that is what I did and it came out so well and I saved some time grating or food processing the cauliflower. they are not expensive and only $1.99 at TJ! love TJ!<3 p="">

If you don't get the riced cauliflower, just wash, clean the florets of cauliflower and grate them. Don't include the stem, save it and use it in a soup.


My kids loved them and they are perfect for breakfast, dinner or school lunches.



Get Ready ( makes about 8-9 parathas)

 For the filling


  • 2 cups riced/ grated cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp sambar powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and (optional) mint leaves
  • salt to taste
  • oil/ ghee to cook parathas


For the outer covering


  • 1 cup atta/ wheat flower
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • oil to rub


Go




  • Make the dough, cover it with a wet cloth or saran wrap and set aside.

  • Next, let us make the filling.

  • In a dry pan, add the riced cauliflower, grated ginger, turmeric, chili powder, sambar powder salt and fry them till all the moisture evaporates.
  • Add cilantro, chopped mint and set aside for it cool completely. This is very important as you don't want the stiffing to be warm and it will be hard to roll the parathas.


  • Take a lemon sized ball of the dough, make a small disc. Take a small key lime sized filling.
  • Add the stuffing inside and pull the edges in a pleated fashion to close. Make  the ball smooth, and flatten the dough with your palm.


  • Dust a surface and gently, I mean very gently roll the paratha.
  • You can also do the second method, which is much easier by making 2 discs out of the dough. spread the filling on the first one, cover with the second disc, seal the edges and roll. This method makes less mess and reduces the chance of filling seeping out.
  • Heat the tawa, and add the rolled paratha. Once you see small bubbles on the surface of the paratha, flip them over.

  •  Add little oil or ghee and cook the parathas till golden on both sides.


Serve hot with raita, yougurt or pickle. My kids love to eat them with ketchup!




Variations:

Add cumin, dhania powder,or green chilli according to your taste for the filling.